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Old April 26, 2011, 09:42 AM
shaw_pod's Avatar
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Post First build - "Budget" AMD gaming rig.

My current computer is about 4-5 years old and even with the minor upgrades I have made over the years I am REALLY due to get a new one. I decided to build it myself since I am fairly knowledgeable in the area and have a good friend that does that for a living. More the latest.

I opted for a AMD platform since it is much cheaper and still offer some really decent performance. I've already obtained a few parts and I am asking for your advice today to get your opinion and advice on how to complete this build.

So here we go:

1. What YOUR PC will be used for. That means what types of tasks you'll be performing.

A: Gaming, a bit of music editing, gaming, usual browsing, watching movies, and of course gaming (SC2, Portal2 and Brink once it is out).

2. What YOUR budget is. A price range is acceptable as long as it's not more than a 20% spread

A: I am openminded on the subject as it is a long term project build that will be acheived over a few weeks but I am still somewhat limited, therefore the choice to go AMD

3. What country YOU will be buying YOUR parts from.

A: Montreal, Canada

4. IF YOU have a brand preference. That means, are you an Intel-Fanboy, AMD-Fanboy, ATI-Fanboy, nVidia-Fanboy, Seagate-Fanboy, WD-Fanboy, etc, etc, etc, you get the picture.

A: AMD as previously stated. And I have always had a good experience of ATI products but I am open to any advice on the matter.

5. If YOU intend on using any of YOUR current parts, and if so, what those parts are.

A: Here is the part I was looking foward to. Here is a list of What I already have purchased in the last few weeks or already had:

MoBo - ASUS Crosshair IV Formula : AMD 890FX/SB850
RaM - CORSAIR CMT4GX3M2A2133C9 - DDR3-2133 - 2 x 2 GB - Dominator GT - 9-10-9-27 (FAN)
* Note that I will limit the speed to 1870MHz since the CMT4GX3M2A2133C9 is not approved to be AMD Phenom II compatible
HDD - WESTERN DIGITAL Caviar Green 500GB / SATA 3Gb/s / 7200RPM / 32MB Cache (partitioned)
WESTERN DIGITAL Caviar Green 1TB / SATA 3Gb/s / IntelliPower / 64MB Cache
PSU - CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX650 bought for my old rig when the original PSU fried


6. IF YOU have searched and/or read similar threads.

A: Countless, and HardwareCanucks makes me proud to be Canadian

7. IF YOU plan on overclocking or run the system at default speeds.

A: Not much of an expert there but obviously that was the reason for that MoBo

8. WHEN do you plan to build it?

A: Over the next few weeks, the less the better.

9. What resolution do you use?

A: Not to drink too much if I'm working the next day...

Seriously I still have a 19" non-HD ViewSonic VGA monitor So I probably will have to purchase a new one. I also plan to hook the rig to my Samsung 32" LCD TV that has a 1366 x 768 resolution.



So basically I was hesitating over the CPU and Graphic card. Here are the options I'm considering:

CPU: I'll probably cool it with a CORSAIR Hydro Series H70.

AMD Phenom II X4 975 / 3.6GHz / AM3 / 8MB Cache (Black Edition)
or
AMD Phenom II X6 1090T / 3.2GHz / AM3 / 9MB Cache


Graphic Card: Or any other aftermarket brand of one of these cards

ASUS Radeon EAH5850 DirectCU TOP/2DIS/1GD5 - 1GB GDDR5 - PCIe - DP/HDMI/DVI
or
ASUS Radeon EAH6870 DC/2DI2S/1GD5 - 1GB GDDR5 - PCIe 2.1 x16 - Dual DP/Dual DVI



So what is your opinion and is there options I have not considered appart from a SSD drive?

Thanks in advance


Shawn
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Old April 26, 2011, 11:06 AM
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I would go with the AMD Phenom II X4 975 since this is a gaming oriented rig. The HD6870 has better performance and has better Crossfire scaling if you intend to add in another HD6870. You should also consider adding in a SSD or a HDD like the WD Caviar Blue or Samsung F3 which is better compared to the WD Green because I advise against using the WD Green as a primary drive.

I am not 100% with your advanced purchase of an AM3 board because Bulldozer is coming out in 1 month + time. If you're lucky, your motherboard might be able to support a Bulldozer processor with a BIOS update but that has yet to be confirmed.
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Old April 26, 2011, 11:21 AM
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Hey there,

You're proposed rig may be similar to the rig I currently have.


Unless you want to get one of AMDs Hexcore chips, I can certainly suggest the Phenom II 965 Black Edition. Ive had wonderful luck with mine, getting 4.2ghz 24/7 stable overclock, also on the Crosshair IV Formula board. So, going with the 975 instead of the chip I chose will simply give you more base clock to start with. So, thats up to you if the price difference is worth the extra 100mhz. But, the quad core on the Crosshair IV formula is a nice combination, for sure.


Ive never heard of that Ram not being certified for phenom II x4, but Im not saying wrong.. Just havent heard it. On the Crosshair board, you can take your ram up to 2000mhz, even though technically its only supports 1333mhz, its got overclock setups to run up to 2000mhz. If it were me, Id probably just get 2000mhz ram. Save a little.

And I def suggest an SSD. Even just a 60gb for Windows and your main programs. One of the only upgrades you can make that actually makes your computer FEEL faster.

I ALSO have two 6870s(lol, pretty similar builds ehh?), and they're great. Crossfire scaling is superb, and aside from SOME, not a lot, of issues with new games coming out not working right away, Ive got no complaints. You can easily find people all over the internet teling you not to bother with AMD Crossfire because driver support is terrible... When in actuality, sure, it could be better, but its by no means terrible. Im very pleased with the performance of 2 6870s, and I bought them when they were more $$ than they are now.


For a monitor, 23in should do ya fine. 1920X1080. OR, you could find one of those 1920X1200 monitors which give you that little extra space if you like. I got a nice price on an Asus 24 in 1920X1080, and Im ok with it. Def works fine, no issues with response time, but I would def upgrade to HD+ rez with a nicer screen, if I had the money.
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Old April 26, 2011, 11:27 AM
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Agreed with getting the X4 975...generally speaking, most games will not make proper use of all 6 cores on an X6. So, it's better to get the higher clocked CPU.

Good choice on the motherboard. I used to run a Crosshair IV Formula and absolutely loved it. One of the the best AM3 motherboards out there. If you decide to get into the overclocking scene, this is a great board for that - very much geared toward the overclockers. Also, IIRC the CH4 will support BD when it comes out. So, it's just a simple BIOS update if you want to later upgrade to the Bulldozere CPU's.

Lastly, +1 on dma0991's comment about the WD green drive. If you can work an SSD into your budget, that would be much better. If not, the WD Caviar Blacks are excellent mechanical drives too.
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Old April 27, 2011, 02:24 AM
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Thanks for clarifying it for me and confirming my doubts.

@JmanEspresso: I was able to get the 2133MHz for the price of the 2000Mhz at a store near me. Hell the dealer ever trew in the Corsair memory cooling fan for free. I was purchasing the Crosshair IV Formula at the same time, it may have helped.

My biggest concern right now is will the small 650W be enough to power the rig efficiently? Specialy if I OC it a little.
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Old April 27, 2011, 02:45 AM
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check this hdd

Newegg.ca - Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKX 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
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Old April 27, 2011, 09:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shaw_pod View Post
...

My biggest concern right now is will the small 650W be enough to power the rig efficiently? Specialy if I OC it a little.
The TX650 will be plenty of power if you are using a single GPU. You'll still have tons of head room even if you overclock your rig.
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